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Question about copyright

I recently started drawing characters and aliens from the book series "Animorphs", and the art was pretty well-received. So I was thinking about making some keychains and pins for an upcoming con, but I'm not sure about the copyright issue there.

The alien species are recognizable if you'd ever read the series (mostly the hork-bajir and andalites, as most of the rest were never illustrated), but the human characters are generic enough that you wouldn't really know who they are unless you had read the books. Only my art would be used on the keychains/pins, and I wouldn't be using the "Animorphs" logo or anything. I toyed with the idea of having short quotes on the back of the keychains for each character as well, but for right now what I'd be going with is a two-sided keychain for the kids with a morph on one side and a portrait on the other.

So, what do you guys think? Innocent enough that nobody would really care, or should I go with a different idea? Scholastic isn't even publishing the series anymore, much less making merchandise for it (the recent reprint was cancelled for apparent lack of interest) but they do still hold the copyright.

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( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 20th, 2013 05:04 am (UTC)
You see keychains of copyrighted stuff all the time at cons. People sell them without any problems. But I have never seen keychains with quotes though.
Mar. 20th, 2013 05:27 am (UTC)
You would essentially be selling fan art, and fan art is generally looked at as a very very grey area. We had a post about this sort topic last year and a lot of the comments are thoughtful and pretty smart.

Basically its going to boil down to your own morals. But honestly if Scholastic 86'd a reprint of the series, there's a very slim chance they'll even C&D you over this.
Mar. 20th, 2013 06:26 am (UTC)
Some companies are fine with it and others aren't. I doubt that scholastic will care. I'd say go ahead and make those keychains.
Mar. 20th, 2013 11:27 am (UTC)
In addition to the above thoughts, make sure to check with the rules of the convention that you plan to attend. Some conventions have an 80/20 rule, some don't allow fan art at all.

Good luck!
Mar. 20th, 2013 12:21 pm (UTC)
A friend of mine is currently redoing the books in comic form. K. A. Applegate herself told Scholastic to back off and let her do the comics. Not sure how she'd feel given that you're making money off of her property, but it's a bit of a reassurance.
Mar. 20th, 2013 03:42 pm (UTC)
Ooh, really? Are the comics online, perchance?

(I've got so much nostalgia for those books, omg)
Mar. 20th, 2013 05:45 pm (UTC)

Yeah, me, too. I've got pdfs of all the books now so I need to get around to reading them! I think I only missed a dozen of them, all said and done when they were in print originally.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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